Thursday, May 28, 2009

Could Ontario Be the Next Germany?

Joe's Note: this did pass, though some of the details to be worked out. This is a great article that explains more about how it all works and why. I encourage you to read the full article, see the "more" link below.

by Greg Boutin and Jon Worren, Riverdale Partners

If the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (Bill 150) is passed as expected in May 2009, Ontario will become the first North American jurisdiction with an incentive system modeled after German feed-in tariffs (FITs), according to incentive expert Paul Gipe. With proposed tariffs of up to 80.2 CAN cents/kWh (US$0.64/kWh, €0.47/kWh) for solar power generation, fixed and guaranteed for 20 years, the province would have the most favorable incentives currently available worldwide for roof-mounted systems below 100 kW. More lucrative, even, than current German incentives under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).
Ontario’s proposed Green Energy Act passed a second reading in March and was ordered to the Standing Committee on General Government for public comment, ending as REW goes to press. Changes to both the Act and the feed-in tariffs may still occur, but as it is almost certain to pass (the Act is supported by the Ontario Liberal Party, which controls 71 of the 107 seats in the Legislative Assembly), the Ontario government started a parallel process in February to work out the deployment details.

Obama Announces US $467M in Stimulus Funding for Geothermal and Solar Energy Projects

Joe's Note: there's a lot of discussion out there regarding  stimulus funds, but being in the industry, I can say I'm not seeing much of it. Do you? If yes, please email me, I'd be happy to post your ARRA story. Here's the latest discussion on it:

Washington, D.C., United States []

President Barack Obama announced that more than US $467 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act could be used to expand development, deployment and use of geothermal and solar energy throughout the United States.
The Recovery Act makes a US $350 million investment in geothermal technology. Photovoltaic technology development will account for $51.5 million.
The Recovery Act makes a US $350 million investment in geothermal technology. Recovery Act funding will support projects in four areas: geothermal demonstration projects; Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) research and development; innovative exploration techniques; and a National Geothermal Data System, Resource Assessment and Classification System.
Geothermal demonstration projects will recieve $140 million. Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology Research and Development will get $80 million. EGS makes use of available heat resources through engineered reservoirs, which can then be tapped to produce electricity. While the long-term goal of EGS is to generate cost competitive clean electricity, enabling research and development is needed to demonstrate the technology’s readiness in the near-term.
Research into innovative exploration techniques will get $100 million. Finally, a National Geothermal Data System, Resource Assessment, and Classification System be see $30 million invested. DOE will support the development of a nationwide data system to make resource data available to academia, researchers, and the private sector.  Finally, DOE will support the development of a geothermal resource classification system for use in determining site potential.
Solar energy will see a $117.6 million investment. Photovoltaic technology development will account for $51.5 million and another $40.5 million will be used for deployment. Projects in this area will focus on non-technical barriers to solar energy deployment, including grid connection, market barriers to solar energy adoption in cities, and the shortage of trained solar energy installers.
Finally, CSP technology research and development will get $25.6 million. This work will focus on improving the reliability of concentrating solar power technologies and enhancing the capabilities of DOE National Laboratories to provide test and evaluation support to the solar industry.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Solar PV Training - Join an Industry Growing at 40% per year

SolarUniversity’s SunPro™ Technical Training Course was designed by trade professionals to turn beginners into SolarPros in a fast and effective learning environment. This intensive training program is being offered in an active solar installation company with hands-on exercises exactly as you will experience them in the field. The SunPro™ course was designed with the premise that the best way to learn is by doing.

60% Lab, 20% Instruction, 20% Classroom Exercises, 100% Exciting

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hermann Scheer addresses Ontario FIT - comparison to Germany

Ontario Passes Aggressive Feed-in Tariff Legislation

Toronto, Canada []

Members of the Green Energy Act Alliance, a coalition of leading environmental groups, industry associations, farmers and labour groups, were at Queen's Park today to congratulate the Liberals and NDP on the adoption of the Green Energy and Economy Act. The Act outlines an ambitious and globally significant strategy to improve conservation, increase renewable energy generation and create green jobs.
"Today's passing of the Ontario Green Energy Act represents an historic international milestone as the Act promises to be the most advanced piece of renewable energy legislation in North America."

-- Stefan Gsanger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association
"We applaud the government and the NDP members of the Legislature for passing this groundbreaking legislation. Today, Ontario enters a new energy paradigm," said Deb Doncaster, Campaign Chair of the Green Energy Act Alliance. "The Act is a clear signal to the global renewable energy community that Ontario is open for business."

The Act aims to improve conservation programs, promote investment in renewable energy projects through North America's first feed-in tariff program, and create green jobs. The Act, introduced in November 2008, is the cornerstone of the government's plan to put Ontario on a path towards reducing Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions, while becoming a leader in the emerging global renewable energy sector.

"Less than a year after our World Wind Energy Conference in Kingston, the government of Ontario kept their promise and laid the foundation for a boom of renewable energy in the province, based on the first feed-in tariff legislation in North America,” said Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association. "Today's passing of the Ontario Green Energy Act represents an historic international milestone as the Act promises to be the most advanced piece of renewable energy legislation in North America."

"Today’s adoption of the Green Energy Act by the Ontario Legislature represents an historic paradigm-shifting legal milestone in the imperative transition to a renewable energy system in North America," said Dr. Hermann Scheer, General Chair of the World Council of Renewable and Member of the National Parliament of Germany.

A poll released in late April by the Green Energy Act Alliance demonstrated clear support across the province for the proposed Green Energy and Economy Act.  Eighty-seven per cent of respondents said they supported the proposed Green Energy and Economy Act and support was widespread across the province with 93 per cent support in Northern Ontario, 89 per cent support in Toronto and 88 per cent support in the GTA/905. Respondents predicted the top two benefits from the Act would be reducing greenhouse gases and creating jobs.

A recent report released from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst estimated that 90,000 jobs per year could be created through investments in conservation, renewable energy and upgrades to Ontario's electricity grid. The investment criteria used in the report is similar to the level of investment expected under the new Green Energy and Economy Act.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Duke Energy Rents Roof Tops

Duke Energy Plans Distributed Solar Installations

May 12, 2009
Source: Clean Edge News

Duke Energy recently announced that it will build between 100 and 400 electricity-generating mini solar power plants throughout North Carolina over the next two years. The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued a decision allowing Duke Energy to proceed with its $50-million proposal to install solar panels on the roofs and grounds of homes, schools, office buildings, shopping malls, warehouses and industrial plants, starting later this year. 

According to the company, the solar sites will collectively generate enough electricity to power 1,300 homes. 

Duke Energy will own and maintain the solar panels during their expected 25-year lifespan. The company also will own the electricity generated. 

It will pay a rental fee to property owners who host the panels for use of their roofs or land, based on the size of the installation and amount of electricity generated at any given site.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Californians Install Record 78 MW Of Solar Panels in 1Q

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)--Defying a global trend of weak solar demand, owners of homes and businesses in California installed a record 78 megawatts of solar panels in the first quarter of 2009, the California Public Utilities Commission said Friday.
While solar-panel prices have fallen 25% or more, on average, due to a global slowdown in demand, rooftop solar panels remain in high demand in California, the world's third-largest solar market, the CPUC data show.
The strength of California's solar market is due largely to generous state incentives, coupled with federal tax credits that greatly reduce the cost of installation and the fact that California has among the highest utility rates in the nation, making self-generated solar power competitive with conventional utility power, especially for large users.
The state is spending $3.3 billion to install 3,000 megawatts of solar panels over 10 years.
In a quarterly report on a solar rebate program it administers, the CPUC cited a recent change in the federal tax code that allows homeowners a larger tax credit for solar installations as a factor driving strength in that market.
Solar rebate applications filed with the CPUC in the first quarter hit a new quarterly record for capacity, at 52 megawatts, since the program started in January 2007, while the number of applications was down compared with the fourth quarter, the CPUC said.
To date, customers of utilities owned by PG&E Corp. (PCG), Edison International (EIX) and Sempra Energy (SRE) have installed 211 megawatts of new rooftop solar generation since 2007, the CPUC said. Statewide, California generates more than 500 megawatts of power from solar panels, the agency said.